March 14, 2024 | Terry Smith

What lifting equipment is best for frequent fallers in the community?

Occupational Therapists often approach us when working with clients who experience frequent falls, looking for advice on which type of falls lifting equipment is most suitable. 

The purpose of this article is to compare the falls lifting equipment options currently on the market in the UK, covering the positives and negatives of each, to help you decide which is best for your client’s situation.

Mangar Elk Inflatable Lifting Cushion

The Mangar Lifting Cushions are well-known among OTs in the community, as they are a simple and relatively cost-effective solution for frequent fallers.

The Elk is the smallest and cheapest Mangar cushion, and is most likely to be the model found on standard stock at your local equipment store.

Benefits of the Mangar Elk

  • Portability. The Elk weighs just 3.6 kg and folds up for easy carrying, making it easily portable. 
  • Versatility. With a very high safe working load of 450kg, the Mangar Elk is suitable for bariatric clients.
  • Cost. Cost-wise, the Mangar Elk comes in at around £1500, making it one of the cheaper options to prescribe.
  • Comfortable. The inflatable cushion design of Mangar cushions is designed to be comfortable for the fallen person.

Drawbacks of the Mangar Elk

  • You have to transfer the fallen person onto the cushion, which requires much more space and manual effort from the responder, and involves a lot of hands-on pushing and pulling on the faller.
  • Instability.  The Mangar cushions rely on air to lift the fallen person, which means that when the cushion is inflating it is quite unstable for the fallen and assistance is required from a caregiver to keep them steady. However, when the Mangar Elk is fully inflated, it is solid and stable.
  • Noise. The noise of the Mangar compressor can be distressing for some fallers, particularly those with dementia. The noise can also be distressing for other family members who might be at the property, particularly if the Mangar needs to be used during the night. 
  • Battery life and life expectancy. The Mangar compressor’s battery lasts for 3-4 lifts, which can sometimes leave you unable to lift a fallen person due to a flat battery. Also, the compressor’s batteries typically require replacement annually, adding additional cost in the long run. 


Mobile Hoist

Mobile Hoist for lifting fallen residents in care homes

Mobile hoists are portable hoists which enable the movement of patients from one place to another, for example from a bed to a chair. Whilst mobile hoists are excellent for a lot of small moves and patient-handling tasks, there are some drawbacks to using them to respond to falls.

Related article: How To Use A Mobile Hoist To Lift A Fallen Person; A Step-By-Step Guide

Positives of mobile hoists

  • Ease of implementation and training. If your client is in a hospital or care home, the organisation is likely to already own multiple hoists, so the implementation and training of caregivers is going to be straightforward. 
  • Suitable for lifting particularly frail patients. Because you can use a hoist to transfer someone in a sling from the floor directly to a bed or chair, a hoist can be used for very frail or non-ambulant patients or residents who are unable to mobilise from a lifting chair or cushion.

Drawbacks of mobile hoists

  • Portability. One of the main drawbacks of using mobile hoists to respond to falls in the community is their size and lack of portability. If a client has fallen in an enclosed area such as in a bathroom or next to a bed, which are both common scenarios in the community, you will struggle to lift them using a hoist due to the lack of space. Also, hoists can be difficult to store and transport through a typical home in the community. 
  • Lack of dignity. Particularly for fallers living with dementia, being lifted in a hoist can be very distressing due to the ‘hands-on’ and enclosed nature of the sling.  For ambulant fallers, a hoist and sling is normally an overly passive intervention that can take their independence away.
  • Manual handling. Using a hoist and sling to lift someone involves a lot of manual handling to roll and manoeuvre the fallen person to get the sling in position, and then lift them up into a chair or bed.


Raizer Lifting Chair (Electric or Manual)

Raizer 2 Lifting Chair

The Raizer Lifting Chairs assemble around a fallen person to easily lift them from the floor after a minor or no-injury fall. The Raizer M is a manually operated version, operated using a crank handle, while the Raizer 2 is electronically operated. 

Positives of the Raizer Lifting Chairs

  • Stability. Compared to the instable design of lifting cushions, the Raizer’s four lifting arms keep the client stable as they lift, giving assurance to the fallen person and caregiver.
  • Reliability. The Raizer M has no electronic components, and the Raizer 2 can complete 80 lifts on one battery charge, so it’s very unlikely to be in a situation where a client has fallen and they aren’t able to be lifted due to a flat battery. Also, Raizer 2 batteries typically last between 5-10 years before requiring replacement. 
  • Low manual handling risk. The Raizer Chairs assemble around the fallen person, so you don’t have to physically get someone onto it or move them around hardly at all, so there is significantly less risk of injury to yourself and the fallen person.
  • Ease of use. The Raizer Chairs are simple to use and impossible to assemble incorrectly, so clients and caregivers find them straightforward to use.
  • Lifts the faller to a perching position, making standing or transferring much easier. 
  • Low cost (Raizer M). The Raizer M is a cheaper alternative to the electric Raizer 2, and is comparable to the Mangar Elk, which can make prescribing the equipment easier. 

Drawbacks of the Raizer Lifting Chairs

  • Cost (Raizer 2). The Raizer 2 chair is the most costly piece of equipment on this list, which is likely a significant factor when purchasing via an equipment panel. We have an article outlining exactly how much the Raizer costs and what affects the price – read here.
  • Weight of the Raizer seat unit. The seat unit weighs 8kg, which can be heavy for individuals who have limited strength and mobility. The Raizer Trolley is an optional extra which we recommend if the Raizer is likely to be transported over a significant distance.
  • Safe working load. With a safe working load of 150kg, the Raizer is unsuitable for lifting bariatric fallers. 

Related article: Who Is The Raizer Lifting Chair For And Who Is It Not For?



Related articles

How Do You Buy the Raizer Lifting Chair?

How Do You Lift an Elderly Person Who Has Fallen? (With Or Without Equipment)

An Ergonomic Comparison of the Raizer Chair vs Mangar Cushions from Anglia Ruskin University



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Terry Smith

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